In this study, Krieger and her colleagues surveyed 334 pediatricians in Appalachian and non-Appalachian areas of Kentucky and West Virginia.
The results showed that those pediatricians serving Appalachian areas were less likely to say they encouraged their patients to receive the vaccine, and were less likely to say their patients were susceptible to HPV.
One key reason may be the pediatricians in Appalachia were less likely than others to say that they would be comfortable talking to the parents of their patients about the importance of the HPV vaccine, Krieger said.
"The fact that HPV is sexually transmitted makes it a difficult subject to bring up. Other studies have shown that is especially true in small towns and rural areas where parents may be concerned about community gossip," she said.
"Pediatricians may be recommending the vaccine less often because they are worried about offending parents of their patients."
These results suggest that more needs to be done to provide training and encouragement to pediatricians working in Appalachia, she said.
"We don't do enough to help physicians understand the risks their patients face from cervical cancer. And we need to help them develop strategies for discussing the vaccine, especially if they think a parent might be resistant," she said.
The second study, about media coverage of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine, appears online in the journal Health Expectations, and will be published in a future print edition.
Krieger said she and her colleagues conducted this study because people rely on the media as an important source of health information, and the researchers wanted to know what Appalachian residents were learning about the HPV vaccine.
The researchers did a content analysis of all 121 articles about c
|Contact: Janice Kriege|
Ohio State University